Sepp Blatter to face Fifa ethics committee

Sepp Blatter will appear before FIFA's ethics committee on Sunday to answer charges that he knew about alleged cash payments, the world governing body announced today.

The charge has been made by Mohamed Bin Hammam, his rival for the FIFA presidency in next week's election, who will also be at the hearing to answer a charge of bribery.

The latest development means that the three of the most powerful men in world football - FIFA vice-president Jack Warner has also been charged with bribery - will now appear before the ethics committee on Sunday.

The ethics committee are bound by their rules to investigate any complaint by an executive committee member under article 16 of the ethics code.

FIFA said in a statement: "On 26 May 2011, FIFA ExCo member Mohamed Bin Hammam has requested the FIFA ethics committee to open ethics proceedings against FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter on the basis that, in the report submitted by FIFA ExCo member Chuck Blazer earlier this week, FIFA vice-president Jack A. Warner would have informed the FIFA president in advance about alleged cash payments to delegations attending a special meeting of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) apparently organised jointly by Jack A. Warner and Mohamed Bin Hammam on 10 and 11 May 2011 and that the FIFA President would have had no issue with these.

"Subsequently, the FIFA ethics committee today opened a procedure against the FIFA president in compliance with art. 16 of the FIFA code of ethics.

"Joseph S. Blatter has been invited to take position by 28 May 2011, 11:00 CET and to attend a hearing by the FIFA ethics committee at the Home of FIFA (Zurich) on 29 May 2011."

FIFA's code of ethics rules state that as the complaint came from a member of the body's executive committee, the independent ethics committee must now also investigate Blatter.

The code states: "FIFA accepts complaints only from the executive committee of an association, the executive committee of a confederation, members of the FIFA executive committee and from the FIFA secretary general."

The code also declares that FIFA officials have a duty to report any wrongdoing. It says: "Officials shall report any evidence of violations of conduct to the FIFA secretary general, who shall report it to the competent body."

Bin Hammam is effectively claiming that Blatter was aware of some wrongdoing but did not report it, in itself a breach of the code.

The ethics committee will hear the bribery charges against Bin Hammam and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner on Sunday in Zurich.

A file of evidence claims bundles of cash of up to 40,000 US dollars were handed over to members of the Caribbean Football Union at meetings in Trinidad earlier this month.

The committee, chaired by Namibian judge Petrus Damaseb, will also be under pressure to decide soon whether Blatter will face any charges or not.

Meanwhile, the FA are due to send to FIFA today the report they commissioned by barrister James Dingemans QC into claims by ex-chairman Lord Triesman that Warner and three other FIFA ExCo made improper requests during England's 2018 World Cup bid.

It is understood that only the claims against Warner have been corroborated by witnesses.

The claim that Warner asked for financial help to build an education centre has been backed up by Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards, while Dingemans' file also includes an email from Warner to Triesman asking the FA to pay for Haiti's World Cup TV rights.

Blatter issued a statement saying: "I cannot comment on the proceedings that have been opened against me today. The facts will speak for themselves."